Woking Golf Club

Woking Golf Club | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

There is much debate as to exactly where and when the game of golf began but it is an indisputable fact that Woking was the original heathland course.

The legendary golf writer Bernard Darwin was a member at Woking for 60 years and describes the advent of this style of course as “really golf, and not a good or even bad imitation of it”.

In 1910 he wrote: “The idea of hacking and digging and building a course out of land on which two blades of grass do not originally grow together is a comparatively modern one.
“The elder architects took a piece of country that was more or less ready to their hand. They did not as a rule think of taking a primeval pine forest or a waste of heather and forcibly turning it into a course.”
But in 1893, Tom Dunn was commissioned by a “few mad barristers trying to carve by main force out of a swamp thickly covered with gorse and heather near Woking”.
To this day, many members still work in the legal profession and, along with nearby Worplesdon and West Hill, this delightful trinity of distinguished Surrey heathland courses is known as The Three Ws.

Visit Woking's website here.
Go back to the NCG Top 100s Homepage.

A Brief History of Woking Golf Club

Woking Golf Club was founded on May 1, 1893, by a group of golf enthusiasts who wanted to establish a course in the area. The club's original course was designed by the renowned golf course architect Tom Dunn.

In its early years, the club enjoyed steady growth and quickly gained a reputation for its challenging course layout. The heathland terrain and natural features of the site made it an attractive destination for golfers. The original clubhouse, known as the "Pavilion," was built in 1903. This historic building has undergone several renovations and expansions over the years but still retains its classic charm.

A pivotal moment arrived in 1913 when Harry Colt, an illustrious golf course architect, undertook a comprehensive redesign of the course. His artistic touch not only endured but continues to shape the course as we know it today. Colt's vision celebrated the intrinsic beauty of the natural landscape, preserving the unique heathland characteristics while introducing strategic elements that have since become the club's hallmark.

During World War II, like many other golf clubs in the UK, Woking Golf Club was used for various military purposes. After the war, it was restored and resumed its golfing activities.

Throughout its history, Woking Golf Club has consistently received acclaim for its course design, maintenance, and the quality of its members. It has remained a private members' club, providing an exclusive and traditional golfing experience. 

Woking Golf Club is celebrated not only for its challenging golf course but also for its rich history and commitment to preserving the traditions of the game. Over the years, it has maintained its status as one of the top golf clubs in Surrey and the United Kingdom, attracting golfers from around the world who appreciate its classic design and the natural beauty of its heathland setting.

Woking Golf Club Review | NCG Top 100s: GB&I Golf Courses

Although it is Dunn’s design that stands today, much of which makes Woking famous has been added since.
Small tweaks and tucks were carried out each year by the club – in a less than democratic fashion that Darwin greatly approved of – so that the members would “disperse for their summer holidays and return (to) find that the most revolutionary things have been done”.
Woking is subtle. Often, holes seem innocuous only to reveal their true difficulty nearer to or on the greens, many of which feature evil contours.

Much of this work was carried out by a single member, Stuart Paton, over a 40-year period. Most significantly, he added two small bunkers in the middle of the 4th fairway. It is thought to be the first time a hazard had been designed with strategy in mind rather than simply to punish a poor shot.
At a stroke, a relatively unremarkable short par 4 was transformed. From an elevated tee, the landing area is generous and, apart from the bunkers, the only other significant problem is the London to Southampton railway line that runs down the right.
What the bunkers do is force a clear decision – whether to play aggressively down the right, close to the out of bounds and set up a simple pitch down the green; or lay up further back and to the left, taking the bunker and railway out of play but leaving a longer and more awkward approach.
It seems obvious to us now, but it was met with incredulity at the time – why should a good shot down the middle of the fairway end up in a bunker?
Woking is subtle. Often, holes seem innocuous only to reveal their true difficulty nearer to or on the greens, many of which feature evil contours. The best two examples come at the 12th and 13th, where leaving yourself above the hole is to be avoided at all costs.
It is not a long course at 6,500 yards but to a par of 70 nor does it need to be. Miss out on a birdie at the generous 1st and you could be waiting a long time for another chance of picking up a shot.
The 18th is typical of its nature: although only 350 yards the famous pond to the right and a green that slopes towards it makes for an awkward finishing hole.
A thinking man’s course then, and one studied by the likes of Alister MacKenzie, Harry Colt and Herbert Fowler. There is most likely a hint of Woking at almost all of Britain’s finest inland venues.

What are the green fees at Woking Golf Club?

Throughout the summer months, a green fee at Woking will set you back £180.

That price comes down in both the shoulder months and then winter season, to £155 and £115, respectively.

Does Woking Golf Club have a dress code?

Yes, in order to maintain tradition and the club's values, visitors and members are asked to adhere to a dress code while on the premises.

In the Clubhouse:
  • Golf shoes and shorts are not allowed in the Lounge or Dining Room.
  • Shorts are allowed with smart shoes and without socks on the terrace or in the spike bar. 
  • Players must wear a jacket and tie in the dining room – no golf attire.
  • Casual clothes, such as denim, t-shirts, cargo shorts, trainers and flip-flops, are not allowed.

On the Course:
On the golf course, players must wear recognised, appropriate golfing attire.
  • Players can wear smart tailored shorts (these must be worn with long socks or white sport socks).
  • Golf shirts must be tucked in.
  • Casual clothes, such as denim, t-shirts, cargo shorts, trainers and flip-flops, are not allowed.

Where is Woking Golf Club located?

Woking Golf Club is located just outside the M25, situated to the southwest of England's capital city. West Hill and Worplesdon, the other members of the '3 W's', are right next door.

For international visitors, London Heathrow Airport is just 15 miles from Woking Golf Club, and provides hundred of flights daily to many countries around the world. London Gatwick Airport is also within 40 miles from Woking.

Visit Woking's website here.
Go back to the NCG Top 100s Homepage.